New iMac launching today?

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Update, 9:45 a.m. EST: According to Apple, the launch date is now Friday, November 30.

The guessing game continues with the launch of Apple’s two new iMac models, with the latest reports suggesting the 21.5-inch version could hit the shelves on Tuesday, or perhaps Wednesday – dates that would fit with Apple’s original plan for a November launch. The larger 27-inch model is scheduled to become available in December.

Apple news website MacRumors said it had received “an unconfirmed tip” that the new 21.5-inch iMac would be available to order online from Tuesday of this week, at the same time pointing to a report from Belgian website claiming that the smaller model would arrive at Apple premium resellers on Wednesday.

“Neither sources has a track record, but both guesses are certainly realistic,” MacRumors commented.

Earlier this month it was thought the Cupertino company was considering delaying the launch of its refreshed desktop computers until 2013 after apparently experiencing construction difficulties with the new ultra-thin designs. The alleged problems related to a procedure involving high heat pressure used to create a seamless joint in the iMac’s frame as well as an issue with the screen’s lamination process.

However, last week 9to5Mac piped up to say that Apple’s launch schedule for both machines is still on track, with the 21.5-inch expected to appear in its online store as well as its physical retail store by the end of this month.

But even if both models do launch as originally planned, you’ll have to be quick if you’re hoping to get your hands on one. During the company’s most recent earnings call in October, CEO Tim Cook said iMac supply will be “constrained for the full quarter in a significant way….there will be a short amount of time to manufacturer and ramp those and I expect demand to be robust,” adding ominously, “We will have a significant shortage.”

The advice is to keep your eyes on Apple’s online store and get your order in quick before that pesky shipping date starts to stretch out … right into 2013.